Recap of Breizh Amerika celebrating Samhain 2023 in USA
Breizh Amerika, a steadfast advocate for Breton culture in USA, recently organized a series of captivating events across various locations, marking the celebration of Samhain. This festivity, steeped in the tapestry of Celtic heritage, unfolded not only in Lafayette, Louisiana, but also in other locales like New Orleans, Scott, and San Francisco. The support of the Region of Brittany have been instrumental in bringing these cultural celebrations to life.
Since 2023 and the implementation of a new policy of support for the Bretons of the World and their friends, the Brittany Region has supported the Bretons of the World who meet all over the world to celebrate their culture, the Celtic New Year and a shared heritage. Samhain themed events were organized in the USA but also Dublin, Cambodia, and Hambourg.
The roots of Halloween trace back to the Celtic tradition of Samhain, commemorating the advent of winter and the onset of the Celtic New Year. In Breton and Celtic cultures, this festivity holds deep cultural significance, serving as a momentous occasion to celebrate heritage and ancient customs.
This year's events stood as a testament to the cultural richness of Brittany, echoing through the heartlands of Louisiana and California. Each celebration encapsulated the spirit of shared traditions, cultural exchange, and the vitality of Breton heritage. Let's delve into the enchanting happenings of Samhain across these distinct locations.
Samhain in Lafayette, Louisiana
Breizh Amerika has been deeply intertwined with the cultural landscape of Louisiana, fostering connections and celebrating Breton heritage since 2016. This year's commemoration of Samhain in Lafayette served as a seamless continuation, building upon the vibrant history of past collaborations and cultural exchanges.
The night unfurled at the Hideaway on Lee, an atmospheric music venue steeped in Cajun charm. Commencing with an exclusive VIP dinner curated by the renowned Cajun chef, Toby Rodriguez, an air of anticipation enveloped the guests, setting the stage for a remarkable cultural experience. A pivotal moment of the evening arrived with the official partnership signing ceremony between Breizh Amerika and the Celtic Bayou Festival, solidifying their commitment to amplifying Breton presence and cultural representation at the renowned festival. This collaboration aims to weave the rich tapestry of Breton traditions—music, dance, language, and more—into the fabric of the festival, ensuring a vibrant celebration of shared heritage.
As the night transitioned into a captivating musical journey, the essence of Celtic traditions harmonized seamlessly with the vibrant spirit of Louisiana. Avoca, a Louisiana-based Irish band, filled the air with melodies steeped in Irish heritage, transcending borders to weave a symphony that resonated with the soul of Celts and Cajun country.
Following the enthralling performances by Avoca, members of Breizh Amerika took the stage, further enriching the evening with the enchanting melodies and rhythms of Breton culture. Their music and dance transported the audience to the shores of Brittany, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for the Breton heritage.
The evening culminated as an audience comprising Bretons, friends of Brittany, and Americans danced into the late hours of the night, swaying to the captivating tunes that bridged continents and celebrated the richness of Breton culture.
Screening of "Copains comme Cajuns" in Scott
Breizh Amerika's series of events in Louisiana continued with a special screening of "Copains comme Cajuns" in Scott, Louisiana. The midday gathering took place as a lunchtime event in Scott, Louisiana, further fostering the connection between the two cultures. Breizh Amerika, along with the Scott jumelage committee and the city's mayor, participated in the event aiming to grow future links.
During this cultural exchange, attendees were treated to a delectable spread featuring local delicacies, including the renowned boudin, a culinary gem that has earned Scott the title of the "Boudin Capital of the World." Amidst the flavors of Cajun cuisine, discussions flowed, ideas blossomed, and friendships deepened.
Breizh Amerika, dedicated to bridging cultural gaps, presented the documentary film "Copains comme Cajuns" to Scott's officials and attendees. The film traced a fascinating journey from New Orleans to the Cajun heartland, unveiling the soul of Louisiana, which remarkably resonates with the spirit of Brittany.
This engaging cinematic experience in English, French and Breton highlights striking parallels between the resilience, traditions, and warmth of both breton and cajun cultures, reinforcing the shared roots that create a strong foundation for ongoing collaborations between Brittany and Louisiana. The commitment of these committee members and the mayor to preserving and celebrating their heritage showcased the enduring bonds between these vibrant cultures.
The lunchtime gathering in Scott encapsulated the essence of Cajun culture, celebrating its language, culinary delights, and artistic endeavors. It emphasized the importance of cultural preservation and exchange, leaving an indelible mark on all who attended.
Collaboration at Travis Matte's Music Studio
Following the vibrant lunchtime screening in Scott, Breton musicians embarked on an exceptional musical journey. They ventured to the music studio of Travis Matte, a renowned figure in Cajun music, to collaborate on new music. The musical collaboration echoed the sentiments of cultural exchange, mutual respect, and the celebration of artistic expressions, fostering a deeper bond between Brittany and Louisiana. It served as a testament to the unifying power of music in transcending geographical boundaries and uniting diverse cultures.
Samhain in New Orleans
New Orleans, known for its haunted hotels and myriad of creepy, spooky ghost stories haunting different locations in the city, stands as the perfect setting to celebrate Samhain, the Celtic New Year when spirits roam amidst the vibrant tapestry of the Big Easy. Breizh Amerika orchestrated a series of diverse events, each weaving the essence of Breton traditions into the cultural fabric of Louisiana's largest city.
The festivities commenced with a house concert, an intimate affair that brought together aficionados of Irish and Celtic music. In this cozy setting, Breizh Amerika engaged with a discerning audience of music enthusiasts, sharing intricate details about Breton cultural traditions. The evening unfolded as an enriching cultural exchange, where Breizh Amerika had the opportunity to delve deeper into the nuances of Breton traditions.
Another highlight was the captivating concert of Breton music hosted at the Alliance Française of New Orleans. This gathering was a harmonious union of the Breton diaspora, an evening replete with cultural richness, soulful melodies, and delectable crepes. The event not only celebrated the cultural uniqueness of Brittany but also served as a rendezvous for Bretons and enthusiasts of all things Breton to immerse themselves in a vibrant cultural milieu.
The culmination of the celebrations witnessed Breizh Amerika making an appearance on live radio at station WTUL. This platform allowed for a broader outreach, enabling the organization to amplify its message and mission of promoting Breton culture. The live radio session was an opportunity to engage with a wider audience, sharing insights and stories that illuminated the unique facets of Breton heritage.
Also notably, Charles Kergaravat, the president of Breizh Amerika, visited the New Orleans Jazz Museum and was invited to explore archival documents related to historical figures like John James Audubon and Julien de Lallande Poydras, further strengthening the cultural ties between actors between Brittany and Louisiana.
The multifaceted celebration of Samhain in New Orleans exemplified the power of cultural exchange and appreciation. Through house concerts, concert soirées, and radio sessions, Breizh Amerika reinforced the connection between Breton traditions and the diverse cultural landscape of New Orleans, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for the shared heritage between Brittany and Louisiana.
Celebrating the Celtic New Year in San Francisco
San Francisco, the second most densely populated major city in America, stands as more than just a bustling metropolis—it's a cultural hub that has fostered artistic movements and welcomed diverse communities. It's a city where Beat Generation poets like Jack Kerouac thrived, an iconic center of the Flower Power movement, and a place where world music finds its welcoming stage.
Musicians from Ireland and Brittany came together in this vibrant city to celebrate Samhain (known as Kalan Goañv in Brittany), the Celtic festival marking the beginning of the “darker half” of the year, which gave rise to Halloween in the US. Breizh Amerika, which has previously organized events in the city, orchestrated this gathering, held at the United Irish Cultural Center in San Francisco.
The event “Celtic Samhain: Colm Ó Riain & Breizh Amerika Collective,” featured Irish-born virtuoso violinist Colm Ó Riain and his band. They embarked on an exploration of the connections between various musical worlds, alongside the Breizh Amerika Collective. Colm dedicated a number of tunes to Samhain, a time in Celtic tradition when the boundary between the living and the Otherworld becomes thin.
The United Irish Cultural Center holds immense significance for the Irish community in the city—a community that has deep roots in San Francisco’s history, with a notable thirty-seven percent of the population during the gold rush being of Irish descent. Bretons also have their place in this history, most notably through the remarkable story of Joseph Yves Limantour.
The following night, an amazing jam session was held at Bella Cora with the same musicians, to the delight of regulars and passersby. This celebration in San Francisco, a fusion of musical traditions and cultural exchange, exemplifies the city's openness to diverse influences and its embrace of the rich tapestry of global heritages.
Continuing the Journey
Once again, Breizh Amerika extends heartfelt gratitude to the Region of Brittany for their unwavering support. Their invaluable backing has been instrumental in bringing these vibrant celebrations to life, uniting communities across continents, and fostering a deeper appreciation for Breton culture worldwide.
Breizh Amerika also extends an invitation to any new Breton diaspora in the US, welcoming their participation in future events. Your engagement is crucial in perpetuating our shared mission of celebrating and preserving Breton heritage, fostering connections, and creating unforgettable experiences. Together, let's continue to weave the threads of our cultural heritage and strengthen the bonds of our community, guided by the spirit of shared heritage.
is an organization established to create, facilitate, promote, and sponsor wide-ranging innovative and collaborative cultural and economic projects that strengthen and foster relations and cooperation between the United States of America and the region of Brittany, France.